IT’S already a nurturing ground for world-class sailing talent.
Now Emsworth Sailing Club is launching a bid to bring state-of-the-art facilities to young sailors with a £450,000 revamp.
The club, one of the oldest in Chichester Harbour, has secured a £50,000 grant from Sport England to help pay for the refurbishment.
The grant is part of Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund – and every facility that receives the funding will carry the London 2012 Inspire Mark to celebrate the Olympic legacy.
The club, in Bath Road, which has more than 1,150 members, has submitted plans to Havant Borough Council to increase its facilities.
The scheme includes the refurbishment of changing rooms to give more space and a better hot water system, a new wet bar which will double as a training area, and refurbishment of the existing bar and lounge area.
There would be a larger training room upstairs, opening out on to a large sheltered balcony with spectacular views down the harbour towards the Solent.
Chris Clode, vice commodore of the club, said: ‘This is an exciting project.
‘We have been working on this for 10 years.
‘We have a very well-managed training programme under our director of training and we are bringing on the young ones from the age of six.
‘They are the future of the club.
‘This is why we have gone for this grant and are building this new facility to increase our training facilities.’
Training at the club are several sailing stars, including Chips Howarth, Vikki Payne, Jemima Lawson, Jessica Lavery and Georgie Mothersele.
Mr Clode added: ‘We already have four national champions in our club and with this new development giving us better facilities, we hope to improve on that figure in the future.’
The club has an interesting history. It was originally set up as a bathing establishment around 1800.
During the Victorian era sailing was adopted at the site leading to Emsworth Sailing Club, in its present form, being founded in 1919 by a small group of enthusiasts.
Richard Lewis, chair of Sport England, said: ‘This National Lottery investment will create a lasting sporting legacy for Emsworth Sailing Club.
‘This fund has really hit the mark with sports clubs in Hampshire.’